Saturday, December 1, 2012

Have YOU Found Your True Forgiveness?

Our feelings usually ‘hurt’ following someone’s bad comment or behavior towards us. How long our emotional feelings remain hurt depends on how long we keep remembering the experience and generating anger and resentment towards the one who caused the pain. Realizing that we are the creator of our feelings and that we can choose our feelings is one of the most significant steps in re-empowering our self and being the master of our own life. There are seven behaviors that may ‘trigger’ our hurt, but they never actually ‘cause’ our hurt feelings. Here is why: 

You REJECTED me! We feel rejected when we interpret someone’s attitudes and behavior towards us as non-accepting. If it happens often enough we will start looking for evidence of rejection almost as soon as we meet this person. It’s the need to be accepted and approved by the others which underlies any hurt feelings. If we can free our self from needing to get the acceptance and approval of others, we would probably never ‘decide’ to feel hurt by their behavior towards us even if it was overtly rejecting.  

You IGNORED me! Sometimes it seems there is nothing worse than being ignored by another. Can we live without the acknowledgement of another? Can we survive being ignored? Well, we usually do. And the way free of yet another form of neediness is to affirm our own existence and to find ways to make our self of value to others and thereby eliminating the feeling of being ignored. 

You DECEIVED me! It’s hard to overcome the feeling of hurtfulness when you know or learn that someone has deceived you. But it’s not the others deviousness that hurts us, it’s our expectation of honesty and openness of them. It’s our sense of our self as someone who is worthy of ‘their’ best behavior that is the underlying cause of our offended feeling. The best way free our self of hurt from others is to drop our expectations of them. 

You GOSSIP about me! We live in the age of the social media, a modern platform for Gossip. The social media builds our reputation, making us reputation dependent so much so that we become easily hurt by the slightest slur on our character. Sometimes we encounter someone who has no concern for what others think of them. Yet they are still warm and sensitive people to be with. That is because they are not dependent on others for how they see and feel about themselves. 

You LET ME DOWN! This is a code phrase for, ‘you made me suffer’! It’s one of the most prevalent illusions of modern society. It means that we are responsible for others feelings and therefore others are responsible for our feelings; a guarantee of lifetime of unhappiness. The only way to free our self from such illusion is to realize that no one is responsible for how and what we feel. We must control our feeling and expectations of others. 

You just INSULTED me! Some people will remember an insult for the rest of their lives and not realize the memory is as good as the best prison cell! Then, perhaps one day, they may realize that it was just an image of them that was in contradiction to what was said. This realization will free you from the feeling of insult. 

You BETRAYED me! We all view the breaking of a promise as a betrayal. The worst seems to be the transfer of a ‘promised confidentiality’. The hurt feelings go deep and often turn out to be expensive! What started out as love can end as hate filled resentment and the emotional wounds may last a lifetime. This again is the expectations we had set of others. Perhaps, we should realize that this was a mistake on our part and reset these expectations.

There is one reason why we are hurting our self emotionally in each of these seven examples. It is dependence on and expectations of others for our WANTS. We are not here to GET something, we are here to GIVE. As soon as we realize, “My life is for GIVING”, we discover the true meaning of forgiveness.

Action: Choose to give something of your self to the person whom you previously thought was the cause of your hurt feelings (but now you know they were just a trigger!) and notice how this ‘giving’ heals your hurt.

Adapted from Mike George’s article “Have YOU Found Your True Forgiveness?” © 2012

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